Rodent parasites: who are they?

Dogs and cats are not the only ones to catch parasites, rabbits and rodents can also be contaminated by internal and external parasites. When you own these new pets, you may not always think that it is necessary to apply a parasite treatment to these adorable fur balls. However, it is very common for them to catch various parasites in all seasons, even if the animal lives alone inside your home.

How can our rodents catch parasites?

It is important to know that some of these animals can be healthy carriers of parasites, meaning that they will not have any symptoms despite the presence of the parasites in them. For example, guinea pigs have parasites called “flagellates” that are naturally present in their intestines. The problem will appear when the animal’s immune system is weaker. Indeed, when a rodent is weakened or if it undergoes a period of high stress, there is a high risk that the animal will develop internal parasites that will disrupt its digestive system.

Soft feces and a decreased appetite will be observed. It will be necessary to react quickly and treat the rodent, which may have serious consequences that could lead to the death of the animal. The same is true for rodent scabies. The animal can be a healthy carrier of the disease without it breaking out. It can transmit the disease to other animals without ever suffering from it itself. The precaution to take is to quarantine any new rodent arriving at your home to prevent it from contaminating your other rodents. At the same time, during this quarantine period which will last about 5 weeks, the animal will have to be treated against internal and external parasites. A successful quarantine consists of placing the animal in a separate cage but also in a different room from that of its fellow rodents.

The owner will have to wash his hands carefully every time he touches his companion. If you respect these simple tips, there will be no contamination of the other animals. Rodents in contact with other animals, such as dogs or cats, and rodents living outside can also get fleas and ticks.

The most common rodent parasites are

External parasites are small insects that come to settle on your rodent where they find shelter, food and good conditions to reproduce.

It is very common for rodents to catch external parasites such as lice, fleas and ticks. You will observe your rodent scratching and you may see small black dots moving around on your animal. By brushing your rodent often you will be able to detect fleas very easily. It is a pleasant moment for your pet as well as for you. This toilet will also help to rid your rodent of dust and dead hairs.

Rodents can also be infested by parasites called mites such as scabies or ringworm.

To detect these mites we can sometimes observe the presence of crusts including purulent crusts in case of ringworm. Other times we will not see anything then to detect these parasites we will check the state of health of the rodent. Any drop in vitality, soft stools, scales or a dull coat should alert the owner of the animal.

Finally, rodents can be contaminated by internal parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms. Worms are not easily detected, especially flagellates, which are microscopically small parasites. Roundworms and tapeworms are a little easier to detect, usually through small diarrhea or itching at the base of the rodent’s tail.

How to treat rodents against parasites?

The ideal is to make a preventive treatment against external parasites twice a year. We prefer prevention to curative treatments.

Indeed, parasites are carriers of disease and rodents are very fragile animals. You will thus protect the health of your rodent by avoiding infections and allergies. In addition, parasites such as fleas can infest your environment and become unpleasant for humans. You will thus also avoid the treatment of your fabrics, parquet and carpeting.

Preventive treatments are available in the form of pipettes.

The product is placed at the level of the rodent’s neck and the delivered dose is adapted to its weight. Accessories such as combs will also allow you to reduce the risk of external parasites. If the rodent catches a tick you can use a tick hook or tick clip to remove it properly.

Depending on the type of parasite, you may have to treat other rodents if you have more than one, even if they are not infested. In complement of the antiparasite treatment it will be necessary to take care of a good hygiene in the cage of the rodent.

It is advised to clean the cage often and to change the litters. Vigilance is even higher in the summer because flies will be attracted by the soiled materials. If you observe a sick animal in your farm, it must be removed quickly to limit the risk of contamination. For the curative part, if your rodent or rabbit has caught external parasites, you can buy anti-parasite treatments in the form of a spray, but do not overdo it. The product is applied on the animal’s coat and brushed regularly to remove dead parasites.

The operation will have to be repeated if necessary and your environment will also have to be treated because fleas and lice reproduce very quickly and can become a real problem in the home.